The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Annie (2014)

Annie (2014), the modern remake of the musical and the film, centers around Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis), a foster kid who is searching for her parents.

Annie was abandoned by her parents when she was a young girl and the only clues that she has about the identity of her parents is a note that they left with her when they abandoned her and a locket. Despite the fact that she has so very little to go on, Annie persistently searches for her parents until one day, her search is interrupted by a man named Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx).

Will Stacks is a business owner who is currently running for mayor, and when he runs into Annie, she’s about to be run over by a car. Luckily, Stacks manages to save Annie’s life, and through a weird twist of events, Annie and Stacks strike up a deal – Annie will temporarily live with Stacks and help improve his public image, and in exchange, Annie will have a nice, new stable place to live and have everything she could possibly desire. However, what the two could have never have bargained for (nor expected) is how much that they both come to truly impact each other’s lives, for the better or for the worse.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Annie passes the Bechdel and race test but does not pass the Russo test.

There are several named women and non-White characters in Annie and there are several occasions where named women talk to each other without mentioning men and non-White characters talk to each other without mentioning White people so the film passes both the Bechdel and race test. The film does not, however, pass the Russo test, and Annie does not pass this test because there are no LGBTI characters in the film.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

*The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a film passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in film. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the film.